I need some help making sense of this. Somebody please give me a clue.
Since Northwest Airlines has a large hub at our airport and employs a lot of local people, the goings-on at the company are always big news here. As you may be aware, NWA has filed for bankruptcy, and are working on cutting their costs to become solvent again. There is much talk of whether they will even exist in the future (as there is with any airline that is in financial trouble).
So far NWA has squeezed wage concessions out of almost all of their unions, with those concessions usually dependent on all of the other unions also agreeing to similar cut-backs. The one remaining holdout is the flight attendants union, and they are not going along with any wage or benefit concessions. Two separate agreements have been made between the union and NWA, and in both cases the union members voted to reject the deals. Now NWA is talking about imposing a new contract on the flight attendants, and in response the flight attendants are talking about their plans to strike.
They have come up with a strike plan that they think will cause maximum harm to the airline's ability to do business. They intend to stage random walkouts on various days at various locations to make it so that the airline can't be ready with replacements and random flights will have to be cancelled.
So, what I don't get is how they think this is any way to go about saving what remains of their jobs. If they succeed in putting the final stake through the airline's heart they will have no jobs, and not much in the way of prospects at other airlines. Even just the threat of a strike will probably cause passengers to book on other airlines instead.
I can sympathize that they don't make enough to be giving back any wages, but I don't understand how hurting the company is going to help their case. It seems to me that there are cases where a strike can apply pressure to the right folks and help a union get what it wants, but there are other cases where it just makes the workers' own situation more precarious. This seems to be a case where everyone's future at the airline depends on the company doing well, and scaring away customers doesn't seem like it could possibly help.
I don't know what can help, given that a strike is just about the only tool that a union has to wield, but this just may be a case where waiting out the situation and trying for a better contract when times are better might be a smarter strategy.